What a drag…
The venue was what had, at one time, been a steam-pump room; it was circular, unusual for a bar—and yet less mysterious than I had hoped. On stage, a drag act—not what I expected, not in the least. The performer had a solid white face caked with makeup like cream cheese and from his head protruded bare sticks and twigs; he was shrouded in white veils. “This doesn’t look like a woman,” I thought, “it doesn’t even look like a burlesque of a woman.” And it was all like that, the whole show. What I expected, of course, was a performance like Dame Edna Everage, pictured left, but instead what I got was more like the performance on the right: a creature that was, frankly, unearthly—demonic, in the most pejorative sense.
What I had just had illustrated to me is the difference between a “drag act” and a “drag queen”—the two are commonly muddled, yet are quite distinct. Dame Edna, an acquired Anglo taste probably not popular beyond the former British Empire, represents a campy-quirky Australian suburban housewife and full-time prima donna. Dame Edna has nothing to do with the act I saw that night in London, saw that night with my queer associate who always wears bright primary colours—a tell for homosexuality, colourblindness and attraction to vivid reds and oranges.
The drag act is related to Punch and Judy, another Anglo tradition—it was performed in churchyards after services on high holidays. The two puppets, the married puppets, who fight each other represent the inherent duality that finds unity in the one, the hidden puppet-master (technically known as a “professor” in the trade)—nominally for children, the adults always watch at the back; and, in fact, it was an initiation into ancient mysteries (only fools, troubadours—the trovers, the seekers of the Grail, really knew).
Allied to the Punch and Judy performance, with its lusty sexuality and unbridled desire for sausage, were the mummers. The mummers or guisers dressed up and often went house-to-house to perform little plays: St. George would be killed by a dragon, only to be revived by a doctor—the doctor also being a character in Punch and Judy. From “mummers” we get “keep mum”, “to be silent”; hence the WWII slogan, “Be like dad, keep mum” (i.e. keep silent, keep your wife—protect wartime secrets). The mummers were silent; and their name derived from the ancient Greek “mommo”, “mask”—the mummers were the silent masked men who spoke with actions. Today, we have the barely remembered word “a mummery” to described an over-the-top performance—yet this was an initiation too, and the mummers originated Halloween.
It is from this tradition that acts like Dame Edna emerge, “the traditional soldier’s drag act” as a character in the BBC historical sitcom Blackadder remarked. The performances were for many centuries entirely confined to men—as with Shakespeare’s women played by boys; and as modern gender theory notes, the fact that men became women in comedies indicated an inherent hierarchical relationship in which women were inferior to men and men descended to the female level as a joke. This tradition started to break down shortly after Shakespeare’s time, when we entered modernity—and acts like Dame Edna, harmless and affectionate fun, are embers from the older tradition of mummery. “St. George is dead, St. George is dead.” “Aw, no. Call the police, call the police.” “Now then, now then, Mr. Punch—who’s been a naughty boy, then?” “Not me, not me, awwwwwww.”
The contemporary drag queen comes from another world and is, in fact, a recent innovation that dates from the 1920s—and really from the 1980s and a particular film made in that period but released in 1990, Paris is Burning. The drag queen comes from an American Afro-Latin world where men, stripped from their families, live in “houses” superintended by senior drag queens—so-called “drag mothers”. It is from this world, a world of high bitchery, that we derive popular expressions such as “throwing shade” and “fierce”—for this ballroom “ball” scene revolves around competitions where men strut their stuff on polished lacquered floors beneath mirror balls and spit vituperative comments at each other. “Burn, bitch!” “Stay fierce!”
Understand that this world is the world that the regime intends for us. The creole world where we are stripped from our birth families and live in an artificial family superintended by a “drag mother”. BAP has said that the regime’s vision is a “mammy longhouse” ruled by nag women; he is almost correct, but really the goal is a “drag house” governed by a “drag mother”—the artificial family where we are encouraged to engage in perverse acts, for the ball scene was often supported by shoplifting for expensive dresses and the Aids infection rate was atrocious. The “drag houses” invert the noble houses found in aristocracy—turn them into ugly parodies; and the events were tinged with racial ressentiment, for the ball scene split off from drag shows that were supposedly rigged because “the whites always won”—or was it because everyone, from all races, simply admired the white performers more? Hence this scene is the perversion of perversion—perversion founded on absolute hatred and resentment.
The left likes this plan because the ball scene, as they are keen to point out, originated with black performers in the 1920s—the earliest pioneer, so they say, for they often lie, was a former slave. They intend to use the black man as a Trojan horse to push their perversion into the centre. Tariq Nasheed is right about “buckbreaking”, except the real buckbreakers are at work today: they lionise black men as drag queen pioneers, founders of the equalitarian “House of Mugler”—I doubt many black American men would recognise themselves in this presentation; yet this is the plan—exploit white guilt over slavery and use a quirk in black history to force the drag queen longhouse upon us. Diabolical.
The film Paris is Burning is the crucial document to understand the contemporary drag phenomenon—and it is free on YouTube if you want to see the future the regime has in mind for you. The film itself took a long time to make, about seven years, and it was funded by the usual suspects—the foundations, the endowments for the arts, the Paul Robeson Fund (proud black Communist masculinity), the BBC, and so on. The quality is high, I have no complaints about its aesthetic value—the film looks sticky and miasmic like a New York summer. I can hardly breathe, and might have to sit in a cold bath all day long. You can almost taste the sweat on your body the morning the the test comes back <<HIV+>>, the sickness in the stomach—you could tell your partner, if only he hadn’t been beaten to death with a tire iron last week. The revolver’s barrel already tastes like blood, iron in the mouth.
The film was made by a girl called Livingston, a Jew from Texas; and she made an unusual decision to pay the participants in the documentary—not usual practice, to pay for reality. So when we watch this film you have to ask: does this constitute a non-fiction work, or does this constitute fiction—what is “black history”, really? Whose history is really “black”? The film has cropped up in unusual places, in The New York Times children’s section in 2007 for starters (“12 Films to See Before You Turn 13”, no less)—as a man who values experience I invite you to watch the film and then decide if it is suitable for children. You could say there is a vogue for this ball scene—strange to relate, “voguing” is a slang term from the scene; if you want to see it presented clean and refined watch the music video for Madonna’s song “Vogue”, released in the same year as Paris is Burning. You see, there are no accidents—only meaningful coincidences; so to launch a music star who desecrates Christian symbolism and the holy name “Madonna” at the same time as you launch your anti-mummery movement constitutes...
“Drag queens” constitute the counter-initiation; it is not camp fun, as they want you to beleive—it is not Dame Edna, though they intend you to confuse it with her; it is an actively Satanic movement, designed to destroy—the replacement will be bitchiness and resentment, wow. Events like drag queen story hour are inductions, baptisms—just as Punch and Judy constitutes a legitimate initiation. Hence this is no trivial matter, no joke for people who wear masks and speak with actions.